I find my current musical journey down memory lane to be joyful and challenging--especially as I cut and paste the Mozart Rondo: Allegro, K. 311 pages to fit comfortably on the piano rack. (Deja Vu, Haydn C Major Hoboken XVI35--Haydn pinned and unpinned) I wrote to a musician friend during the height of my frustration.… Continue reading Revisiting an old piano piece learned years earlier
At my You Tube Channel site, I routinely pick up comments daily, and the majority center on piano technique. While I lay no claim to being an expert in this complex universe, my trial and error practicing over decades has come with insights that I enjoy sharing. Earlier today, I'd noticed the following note posted… Continue reading Practicing knotty piano passages, and tips on how to avoid fatigue while boosting technique (Videos)
Ilyana has been studying piano for two years. Currently, she's working on various weight applications for staccato. I found that imaging a basketball being bounced vs. a ping pong ball being tapped, helped the student with her overall physical approach. The short video below illustrates. We ended up playing 8th notes, not being overly ambitious… Continue reading Piano Technique: Teaching a 9-year old Staccato and weight application–Think bouncing a basketball vs. ping pong ball tapping (Videos)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyXvet9KrLc In a separate writing about crossed hands, large leaps, and other keyboard acrobatics, I'd discussed trills which permeate Domenico Scarlatti's music. Perhaps these precious ornaments evoked the gypsy wails in the surrounding Madrid countryside, or they were part of the performance practice of the Baroque period. I would hedge my bets that hunting horns,… Continue reading Trills and Domenico Scarlatti (Video)
Domenico Scarlatti Sonata K. 9 in d minor (the "pastorale") http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qk88Sn9kHk The trills in K. 9 are far different than those permeating Scarlatti's sonata K. 159 in C Major. The latter has a robust horn call opening with a lavish assortment of ornaments. The bright sounding Major tonality creates a dazzling brilliance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zUmr0vl_-c By contrast… Continue reading More trills, but bucolic and serene: Scarlatti’s d minor “pastorale” K. 9 (VIDEO)
I remember Art Linkletter's show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things," which made me think of a few adult piano students and their hauntingly memorable words. Yesterday, for example, I was forewarned by a 70-year old pupil, that I should expect a call from her during the night about the key of "F# minor." What impending… Continue reading Adult piano students say and do the darndest things.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZxNy1VeOjk up tempo: http://youtu.be/t-3D6-s5qok Be prepared to exercise your eyeballs minus head movements when tackling large leaps, especially those hand-over-hand acrobatics that are intrinsic to many of Domenico Scarlatti's sonatas. In the first video I've isolated a few of these jumps from Sonata K. 113 in A Major, demonstrating what I've found to be the… Continue reading Piano Technique: Big Leaps, Crossed Hands, and shifty eyeballs (with slow motion video replay)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQiaWoJaUfQ Domenico Scarlatti never fails to come up with a flashy pyrotechnical escapade that can make or break a player in progress. I know, because I've walked the plank with this piece until I was able to reverse my fortune and run with it happily into the horizon. Any number of times those repeated notes,… Continue reading Domenico Scarlatti Sonata (Toccata) in D minor, K. 141 with reams of repeated notes (VIDEO)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJ--gGIwgAA After decades of teaching the Chopin Waltzes, I've come to the conclusion that the A minor, No. 19, Op. Posthumous is the best student introduction to the form as the composer cultivated it. While many other Waltzes in Chopin's collection are far more substantial and technically challenging, No. 19, is in my opinion, easiest… Continue reading The very first Chopin Waltz that I teach: #19, Op. Posth. in A minor (Video instruction)
Scale practicing examples: https://youtu.be/SJGbnFQB8L8 https://youtu.be/Bo1ptHbMu9M https://youtu.be/W3N_9Me7hXQ *** The Backdrop: As a young piano student living in New York City, I remember my reluctance to prepare a mandatory scale each week for my lesson. In fact my first teacher had so many students, she always seemed to forget the scale she had assigned to me, so… Continue reading Why Play Scales?